Genesis 13; Genesis 14; Genesis 15; Matthew 5:1-26

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Genesis 13

1 Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev Desert. He took his wife and everything he had. Lot went with him.
2 Abram had become very rich. He had a lot of livestock and silver and gold.
3 From the Negev Desert, he went from place to place until he came to Bethel. He came to a place between Bethel and Ai. That's where his tent had been earlier.
4 He had also built an altar there. He worshiped the LORD there.
5 Lot was moving around with Abram. Lot also had flocks and herds and tents.
6 But the land didn't have enough food for both of them. They had large herds and many servants. So they weren't able to stay together.
7 The people who took care of Abram's herds and those who took care of Lot's herds began to argue. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time.
8 So Abram said to Lot, "Let's not argue with each other. The people who take care of your herds and those who take care of mine shouldn't argue with one another. After all, we're part of the same family.
9 "Isn't the whole land in front of you? Let's separate. If you go to the left, I'll go to the right. If you go to the right, I'll go to the left."
10 Lot looked up. He saw that the whole Jordan River valley had plenty of water. It was like the garden of the Lord. It was like the land of Egypt near Zoar. That was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.
11 So Lot chose the whole Jordan River valley for himself. Then he started out toward the east. The two men separated.
12 Abram lived in the land of Canaan. Lot lived among the cities of the Jordan River valley. He set up his tents near Sodom.
13 The men of Sodom were evil. They were sinning greatly against the Lord.
14 The LORD spoke to Abram after Lot had left him. He said, "Look up from where you are. Look north and south. Look east and west.
15 I will give you all of the land that you see. I will give it to you and your children after you forever.
16 "I will make your children like the dust of the earth. Can dust be counted? If it can, then your children can be counted.
17 Go. Walk through the land. See how long and wide it is. I am giving it to you."
18 So Abram moved his tents. He went to live near the large trees of Mamre at Hebron. There he built an altar to honor the Lord.
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.

Genesis 14

1 At that time Amraphel was the king of Babylonia. Arioch was the king of Ellasar. Kedorlaomer was the king of Elam. And Tidal was the king of Goiim.
2 They went to war against five kings. The kings were Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela. Bela was also called Zoar.
3 Those five kings all gathered their armies together in the Valley of Siddim. It was the valley of the Dead Sea.
4 For 12 years they had been under the rule of Kedorlaomer. But in the 13th year they opposed him.
5 In the 14th year, Kedorlaomer and the kings who helped him went to war. They won the battle against the Rephaites in Ashteroth Karnaim. They also won the battle against the Zuzites in Ham and the Emites in Shaveh Kiriathaim.
6 They did the same thing to the Horites in the hill country of Seir. They marched all the way to El Paran near the desert.
7 Then they turned back. They went to En Mishpat. En Mishpat was also called Kadesh. They took over the whole territory of the Amalekites. They also won the battle against the Amorites who were living in Hazazon Tamar.
8 Then the king of Sodom and the king of Gomorrah marched out. The kings of Admah, Zeboiim and Bela went with them. Bela was also called Zoar. They lined up their armies for battle in the Valley of Siddim.
9 They got ready to fight against Kedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of Goiim, Amraphel king of Babylonia, and Arioch king of Ellasar. There were four kings against five.
10 The Valley of Siddim was full of tar pits. The kings of Sodom and Gomorrah ran away from the battle. Some of their men fell into the pits. The rest escaped to the hills.
11 The four kings took all of the things that belonged to Sodom and Gomorrah. They also took all of their food. Then they went away.
12 They carried away Lot, Abram's nephew, and the things he owned. Lot was living in Sodom at that time.
13 One man escaped. He came and reported everything to Abram. Abram was a Hebrew. He was living near the large trees of Mamre the Amorite. Mamre was a brother of Eshcol and Aner. All of them helped Abram.
14 Abram heard that Lot had been captured. So he called out his 318 trained men. All of them were sons of his servants. They chased the enemy as far as Dan.
15 During the night Abram separated his men into groups. They attacked the enemy and drove them away. They chased them north of Damascus as far as Hobah.
16 Abram took back all of the things the kings had taken. He brought back his nephew Lot and the things Lot owned. He also brought back the women and the other people.
17 After Abram won the battle over Kedorlaomer and the kings who helped him, he returned. The king of Sodom came out to meet him in the Valley of Shaveh. The Valley of Shaveh was also called the King's Valley.
18 Melchizedek was the king of Jerusalem. He brought out bread and wine. He was the priest of God Most High.
19 He gave a blessing to Abram. He said, "May God Most High bless Abram. May the Creator of heaven and earth bless him.
20 Give praise to God Most High. He gave your enemies into your hand." Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of everything.
21 The king of Sodom said to Abram, "Give me the people. Keep everything else for yourself."
22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, "I have raised my hand to the Lord. He is God Most High. He is the Creator of heaven and earth. I have taken an oath.
23 I have said that I won't accept anything that belongs to you. I won't take even a thread or the strap of a sandal. You will never be able to say, 'I made Abram rich.'
24 "I'll accept only what my men have eaten and what belongs to Aner, Eshcol and Mamre. Those three men went with me. Let them have their share."
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.

Genesis 15

1 Some time later, Abram had a vision. The LORD said to him, "Abram, do not be afraid. I am like a shield to you. I am your very great reward."
2 But Abram said, "LORD and King, what can you give me? I still don't have any children. My servant Eliezer comes from Damascus. When I die, he will get everything I own."
3 Abram continued, "You haven't given me any children. So a servant in my house will get everything I own."
4 Then a message came to Abram from the LORD. He said, "This man will not get what belongs to you. A son will come from your own body. He will get everything you own."
5 The LORD took Abram outside and said, "Look up at the sky. Count the stars, if you can." Then he said to him, "That is how many children you will have."
6 Abram believed the Lord. The LORD accepted Abram because he believed. So his faith made him right with the Lord.
7 He also said to Abram, "I am the Lord. I brought you out of Ur in Babylonia. I wanted to give you this land to take as your very own."
8 But Abram said, "LORD and King, how can I know I will take this land as my own?"
9 So the LORD said to him, "Bring me a young cow. Also bring a goat and a ram. All of them must be three years old. Bring a dove and a young pigeon along with them."
10 Abram brought all of them to the Lord. Abram cut them in two. He placed the halves opposite each other. But he didn't cut the birds in half.
11 Then large birds came down to eat the dead bodies of the animals and birds. But Abram chased the large birds away.
12 As the sun was going down, Abram fell into a deep sleep. A thick and terrible darkness covered him.
13 Then the LORD said to him, "You can be sure of what I am about to tell you. Your children who live after you will be strangers in a country that does not belong to them. They will become slaves. They will be treated badly for 400 years.
14 But I will punish the nation that makes them slaves. After that, they will leave with all kinds of valuable things.
15 "But you will die in peace. You will join the members of your family who have already died. You will be buried when you are very old.
16 "Your children's grandchildren will come back here. That is because the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached the point where I must judge them."
17 The sun set and darkness fell. Then a burning torch and a fire pot filled with smoke appeared. They passed between the pieces of the animals.
18 On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram. He said, "I am giving this land to your children after you. It reaches from the river of Egypt to the great river Euphrates.
19 It includes the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites,
20 Hittites, Perizzites and Rephaites.
21 The Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites also live there."
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.

Matthew 5:1-26

1 Jesus saw the crowds. So he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him.
2 Then he began to teach them. He said,
3 "Blessed are those who are spiritually needy. The kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
4 Blessed are those who are sad. They will be comforted.
5 Blessed are those who are free of pride. They will be given the earth.
6 Blessed are those who are hungry and thirsty for what is right. They will be filled.
7 Blessed are those who show mercy. They will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are those whose hearts are pure. They will see God.
9 Blessed are those who make peace. They will be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who suffer for doing what is right. The kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
11 "Blessed are you when people make fun of you and hurt you because of me. You are also blessed when they tell all kinds of evil lies about you because of me.
12 Be joyful and glad. Your reward in heaven is great. In the same way, people hurt the prophets who lived long ago.
13 "You are the salt of the earth. But suppose the salt loses its saltiness. How can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything. It will be thrown out. People will walk all over it.
14 "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill can't be hidden.
15 Also, people do not light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand. Then it gives light to everyone in the house.
16 "In the same way, let your light shine in front of others. Then they will see the good things you do. And they will praise your Father who is in heaven.
17 "Do not think I have come to get rid of what is written in the Law or in the Prophets. I have not come to do that. Instead, I have come to give full meaning to what is written.
18 What I'm about to tell you is true. Heaven and earth will disappear before the smallest letter disappears from the Law. Not even the smallest stroke of a pen will disappear from the Law until everything is completed.
19 "Do not break even one of the least important commandments. And do not teach others to break them. If you do, you will be called the least important person in the kingdom of heaven. Instead, practice and teach these commands. Then you will be called important in the kingdom of heaven.
20 "Here is what I tell you. You must be more godly than the Pharisees and the teachers of the law. If you are not, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
21 "You have heard what was said to people who lived long ago. They were told, 'Do not commit murder.(Exodus 20:13) Anyone who murders will be judged for it.'
22 But here is what I tell you. Do not be angry with your brother. Anyone who is angry with his brother will be judged. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' must stand trial in the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire in hell.
23 "Suppose you are offering your gift at the altar. And you remember that your brother has something against you.
24 Leave your gift in front of the altar. First go and make peace with your brother. Then come back and offer your gift.
25 "Suppose someone has a claim against you and is taking you to court. Settle the matter quickly. Do it while you are still with him on your way. If you don't, he may hand you over to the judge. The judge may hand you over to the officer. And you may be thrown into prison.
26 What I'm about to tell you is true. You will not get out until you have paid the very last penny!
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.